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Archive for March, 2022

Arbor Day Foundation Awards Recognition to Rochester Public Utilities as 2022 Tree Line USA Utility

Friday, March 25th, 2022

Arbor Day Foundation
Lauren Weyers  

Arbor Day Foundation Awards Recognition to Rochester Public Utilities as 2022 Tree Line USA Utility 
Rochester Public Utilities earns the Tree Line USA recognition for their commitment to urban forestry in its community 

LINCOLN, Nebraska – Rochester Public Utilities was named a 2022 Tree Line USA by the Arbor Day Foundation to recognize its dedication to proper urban forest management in the provider’s service area. 
Tree Line USA, a partnership between the Arbor Day Foundation and the National Association of State Foresters, recognizes public and private utilities for pursuing best practices that protect and cultivate America’s urban tree canopy. In addition, Tree Line USA promotes delivering safe and reliable electricity while maintaining healthy community forests. 
“Trees are essential to creating more urban green spaces in communities across the United States,” said Dan Lambe, chief executive of the Arbor Day Foundation. “In addition, they provide important benefits to residents, including clean air, clean water, and vital tree shade. Service providers like Rochester Public Utilities demonstrate how easily trees and utilities can co-exist for the benefit of communities and residents.”
By joining the Tree Line USA program, service providers benefit from lowering line clearance costs due to proper pruning. As a result of those properly pruned and maintained trees, the people benefit from increased reliability of service because those trees will have healthy root systems that decay less, have less structural weakness, and ultimately result in fewer downed lines during storms. 
Rochester Public Utilities achieved the Tree Line USA recognition by meeting five program standards: quality tree care, annual worker training, tree planting and public education, a formal tree-based energy conservation, and a sponsorship of or participation Arbor Day celebration.  
More information about Tree Line USA can be found at

About the Arbor Day Foundation
Founded in 1972, the Arbor Day Foundation has grown to become the largest nonprofit membership organization dedicated to planting trees, with more than one million members, supporters and valued partners. Since 1972, almost 500 million Arbor Day Foundation trees have been planted in neighborhoods, communities, cities and forests throughout the world. Our vision is to lead toward a world where trees are used to solve issues critical to survival.  

As one of the world’s largest operating conservation foundations, the Arbor Day Foundation, through its members, partners and programs, educates and engages stakeholders and communities across the globe to involve themselves in its mission of planting, nurturing and celebrating trees. More information is available at

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Mask guidance changes for city and county buildings

Friday, March 11th, 2022

Mask guidance has changed for anyone visiting government buildings or facilities in Olmsted County and the City of Rochester. Effective today, masks will no longer be required in them. Olmsted County and the City of Rochester still welcome the use of masks in local government buildings for whoever wishes to wear them and strongly encourage unvaccinated and immunocompromised individuals to continue wearing facial coverings. 

These changes are effective today because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated the COVID-19 Community Level for Olmsted County to “Medium.” Olmsted County and the City of Rochester have been following CDC recommendations throughout the COVID-19 pandemic to help guide decision-making on COVID-19 matters.

It’s important to note that masks are still required on Rochester Public Transit (RPT) buses and in RPT facilities by order of the Transportation Security Administration and the CDC. Masks will also need to be worn by individuals 2-years-old and up for direct patient care services provided by Olmsted County Public Health Services (that is because the CDC’s new COVID-19 Community Level recommendations do not apply in health care settings). Additionally, private businesses still retain the right to require patrons to wear masks inside stores and facilities.

“At Olmsted County, we have been vigilant about keeping our employees, clients, and visitors as healthy and safe as possible,” said Olmsted County Administrator Heidi Welsch. “We have appreciated the community’s compliance with these CDC guidelines.”

City of Rochester Administrator Alison Zelms shared, “The news of Olmsted County dropping to ‘Medium’ on the CDC’s COVID-19 Community Level tracker ushers us into a new, more optimistic, and welcomed phase of the pandemic where we no longer require masks to be worn inside our facilities. We understand that many in our community will continue masking and they are welcome to do so in all of our buildings.”

To view Olmsted County community levels and prevention steps, visit the CDC website.